Beware anyone who thinks they stand!
In today’s world we so often hear stories about those individuals who profess to be self-made men and women. They have achieved a high level of success and they have no problem attributing their impressive accomplishments to their hard work, tenacity, and smart decisions. One year, while on vacation to Seattle, Washington, I had the opportunity to attend a Sunday morning Bible study at an LCMS Church. In the class that morning, we were talking about the idea of what it means to be financially successful in our lives. Along with that topic we discuss what it means to be a Christian steward and manager of all we had, especially with concern for material possessions. Certainly, we all agreed that what we each possessed were truly blessings from our Lord and we needed to manage them faithfully as His people.
During the study I asked the group a question about Bill Gates, who is a resident and worldly known figure of the Seattle area. My question was this: Have you ever heard Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, ever praise God for his unbelievable success and climb up the financial ladder. They all peered at me with rather stunned looks on their face. Finally, one person spoke up sheepishly with the reply, NO! Personally, anything I have ever heard about Mr. Gates success revolves around HIS proclamation of being a self-made man, an entrepreneur par- excellence.
Now, I am not necessarily picking on Bill Gates in this devotion. But here is an example of how we each can lose sight of the fact that all we have in possessions, and everything we are as a person, stem from God’s gracious hands. We are the recipients of His many blessings and apart from Him we would be helpless and hopeless. He alone is deserving of all the credit for any of the successes we His creation enjoy. Never let us be deceived that we can stand on our own.
Over and above any material blessings we may be able to enjoy there is the greatest gift of all; eternal life. This is a gift, an amazing blessing we could never work hard enough, be tenacious enough, or be smart enough to ever achieve. It could only come from the sacrificial work carried out by our Lord and Savior Jesus. In Him alone can we truly stand, stand firm, and stand forever. There is a song by Philip, Craig, and Dean called “In Christ Alone” which brings this idea out quite well. Here is a portion of the song;
In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, What depths of peace. When fears are stilled, When strivings cease. My Comforter, my All in All; Here in the love of Christ I stand.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”. May you and I learn from God’s Word and take heed, lest we allow ourselves to believe we are masters of our universe and destiny. Pastor McCarty